There were bizarre scenes in Switzerland’s World Cup qualifying game against Northern Ireland on Saturday evening.
Jamal Lewis was on a yellow card when he picked the ball up to take a throw-in in the 37th minute.
The left-back didn’t have many options and took slightly longer than usual to take the throw.
The referee suddenly lost patience and, without warning, issued Lewis a second yellow card and sent him off.
Northern Ireland’s players protested the decision while Lewis stood around looking dumbfounded.
The referee did not change his mind and the 23-year-old had no option but to leave the field.
“That is a horrendous decision,” the commentator on Sky Sports said. “The referee has to take into context… he’s sending someone off the pitch. When you do that, it has to be for something serious.”
Many football fans were also confused by the decision. View some of the reaction below…
Northern Ireland went into the game third in Group C, three points behind Switzerland.
Ian Baraclough need to finish above Switzerland to have any chance of qualifying for thew World Cup.
They had to come away from Switzerland with three points, so it’s improbable that Lewis intentionally time-wasted with the score 0-0 in the first-half.
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To make matters even worse for Northern Ireland, they fell behind just before half-time as Steven Zubar broke the deadlock.
Christian Fassnacht’s stoppage-time goal would make the points safe and secure Switzerland’s controversial victory.
Northern Ireland’s chances of qualifying for next year’s World Cup in Qatar are now virtually over.